THE GLOBAL ENGLISH CORPORATE LEARNING SERVICE™ AS A TOOL FOR DEVELOPING LEARNER AUTONOMY IN BUSINESS ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING
Authentic Business English Language Center / Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (BRAZIL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This presentation aims at reflecting upon the use of the Global English Corporate Learning Service™ as a tool for developing learner autonomy in Business English Language Teaching and Learning. Autonomy is hereby understood as a social process (Thanasoulas, 2000; Camilleri, 20--) in which students can exercise their pro-activeness and independence by setting their own goals, and in choosing materials and tasks, among others (Holec, 1983), and is consonant with the principles of Vygotsky's sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978; Oxford, 2003). In the field of English Language Teaching (ELT), this perspective of autonomy had both the role of the student as well as the role of the English teacher re-conceptualized, having the former take up on more responsibilities regarding his/her learning process, and the latter become more decentralized, acting as a facilitator (Thanasoulas, 2000). Interestingly, such changes can also be seen as a result of the ever-increasing use of technology in ELT, and the Global English Corporate Learning Service™, an e-learning service centered on the teaching of Business English, is an example of this reality and of the tendency of using e-learning technologies in the business world (Almeida, 2002). The use of Global English™ is also on par with the needs of Business English students, as this modality of ELT is essentially focused on students’ needs, and is highly dependent on learner autonomy (Donna, 2000; Barton, Burkart & Server, 2010). This presentation is a result of my latest research (to be concluded in December 2011 with a presentation in Brazil) and shows that learner autonomy has been greatly enhanced through the use of Global English™. My research falls in the field of Education and Applied Linguistics, and consisted of observing and analyzing the learning process of a total of 10 students from a multinational in Brazil, five in the year of 2010 and five in 2011. All the students used Global English as an aid to their face-to-face Business English classes, as this has been the procedure adopted by the language program at the multinational from the beginning of my investigation. The students had a total of 20h/month of English practice, eight of which were done through Global English™, which was invariably addressed in the language classroom and became a part of the classes as well. Moreover, according to questionnaires answered by the students, and through a critical analysis of the aforementioned e-learning service, it is possible to say that Global English™ encompasses the three vital criteria for the design of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) from an autonomous perspective, namely learner-centeredness, strategies and diversity and user-friendly design, as discussed in Ruiz-Madrid (2006).
Keywords: e-learning, Learner Autonomy, Business English.